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The authoritative source for independent research on UK-EU relations

14 Sep 2018

BrexitLawNI policy report: Brexit, border controls and free movement

Whilst the issue of ‘the border’ has become centre stage in the Brexit discussions, the focus has been almost exclusively on the freedom of movement of goods. The implications for the freedom of movement of people have by contrast been quite marginal, despite the prominence of ‘migration control’ in the debate.

Progress in this area is very limited at EU-UK level. There has been no tangible bilateral (UK-Ireland) progress to legally formalise the Common Travel Area (CTA). There is also a lack of transparency in relation to post-Brexit operational planning for both CTA and internal immigration controls in NI, with immigration policy officials not permitted to engage with the research, and little clarity provided even to Westminster committees.

The direction of travel for post-Brexit arrangements carries serious risks of facilitating widespread racial discrimination and undermining confidence in and the framework for policing introduced by the peace process. This report looks at border controls and free movement in and between Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Britain.

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